twenty. fourteen. it might be unoriginal to be be so shocked at how fast it’s going by. this life. my brian is so full. there are so many balls to juggle. so much to keep up in the air. i have 3 revolving notebooks that on any given day are filed with sideways scratched contractors numbers or flooring measurements begging to be remembered. pediatricians to call back or favors to complete. names of friends that haven’t been hugged in way too many weeks.
it can get daunting, can’t it? it seems the harder i try to find peace by the getting done of all the things to be done, the further it gets from me. why can no one discover why at the end of a productive day, there’s that feeling. you know the one. happy. proud. successful. and yet, something else too. that lingering feeling that there is no good way to go to bed with nothing left to do. or silly to think of waking up with a fresh day, void of lists or already lates or should have done yesterdays.
why can’t i do my way to done? why can’t i clean my way to control? why can’t i perfect my way to peace? i think. maybe. because the to dos that should be done aren’t in fact the ones you can touch. it’s deeper. nope, even deeper. i think it starts with my heart.
i think that maybe, every day i wake up with the hope of being braver. more joyful. most productive. even good goals. they’re all behavior modification. cause and effect. when this happens, do this. when my baby won’t nap, take a deep breath. when i’ve hurt my friend, apologize and try again. if this incredibly specific occurrence happens, follows steps 1-7. otherwise, skip to 8. if 8 doesn’t work, go back to 1. when that doesn’t work, go to sleep and pray you wake up feeling inspired in the morning. i’m pretty over it. it didn’t work in 2013. why would it, should it now?
i think it starts with my heart. let me take you to church.
here’s my hint. tucked away in luke 6:45. “the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart is mouth speaks.” (emphasis mine.)
key word. produce. to make or manufacture from components or raw materials. from what is in my heart, the raw, bare, naked, materials. it’s from that stuff that i will produce. it’s happening. i am currently, always and already in the business of production. i’m concerned with what i might be producing.
so how do i jump in front of production. how do i proact instead of react. how can my heart already be ready to breath when it needs it before i have to spare energy remembering? how do i reverse the thought that because i do, he Does. that’s backwards friends. we’ve been lied to. because he Did, we do. because he Loved, we love. because he Gave, we give. it’s worship. it’s our choice. stop earning it. you can’t anyway.
so maybe, i’m wondering. if my twenty fourteen lists look a little different, maybe my year could look a little different too. if instead of working out more and being selfish less, i attack the source of it. if i start where i start. did you catch that? if i start. with where. I start. then what comes out of me, will be different. better. not because i should. but because i can, because he Did.
here’s what that looks like in ten, practical, realistic, convicting, refreshing ways. ten ways that jump start your heart. and then from out if it, you’ll see your good treasures produce. they’re not to discourage or overwhelm me. they’re not to make me laugh with hilarious defeat. they’re to put somewhere i’ll see them and train my eyes to read it and my heart to hear it. and then i do something about my bad heart issues, intentionally and on purpose. and things begin to change.
1. this changes me. the taking in of words with my eyes and the chewing on them with my head and the needing them with my heart. it changes me. what good words am i taking in?
2. it’s not about me. and it’s not about what i do. if all my actions are a direct reaction from the Actions that have already been taken by the One who saved me, then bettering someone’s day, in fact, betters me. woah.
3. let’s be honest. if it’s not planned, it’s probably not happening. sure, maybe that thing you really wanted, you’ll make happen. but for someone else? one of those above and beyond things? it needs to be planned. what traditions are you starting next month? what holiday have you never decorated for? what people in your life need to be appreciated that if you start today, you could come up with something really special. the giving of me and the getting you is going to transform how my heart works.
4. can we refine that word? spoil. can we, in fact, redeem it? is there a way to spoil the ones we love in a way that won’t make them spoiled? why can’t i be the mom who’s baby knows she’s loved and cherished and gone out of the way for. i’ve never won someone over by withholding. in fact, the opposite. give. generously. and watch their face. and then hold up a mirror. quickly. and watch yours.
5. what happens to my heart when i give until i’ve got no give left. we say silly things like, i love you from the bottom of my heart. do you want the bottom of my heart? i’d actually like to give to you from off the top. metaphorically. it’s not kind to anyone to outdo so much until i’m so undone i can’t get anything done. sometimes it’s selfish to be selfless because i give you a me you don’t want. as ann voscamp would say. “don’t have guilt over saying no – because every no is saying a better yes.
” (seriously, you should probably stop reading what i’m writing and go read what she wrote.)
6. am i watching them? am i listening to what they’re saying and to more than just what they’re saying? what is life teaching them today and what am i doing about it? can i stop and show my toddler the spider on the wall and wait patiently as we watch and sing that itsy bitsy song twenty-two more times? or maybe the world is asking my thirteen year old to be an eighteen year old and i could give her a break. remind her how fun living room pajama parties can be. and maybe if i tell her i love her. and spoil her a little. and stop talking long enough for her to start. maybe she’d even let me help. it’s my job, you know. to facilitate their becoming of a someone. and when i do what i was created to do, my heart keeps on changing.
7. we all know that silly little saying that’s sometimes truer than we’d prefer it be. saying sorry doesn’t just fix it. maybe the same is true for saying thank you. maybe it does a little good. but why would we do a little good when we could do a lot of good. why would we say sorry, when we could show sorry. it’s why i teach my little that sorry comes with a hug. because with a little imagination, every emotion that can’t be touched can be made touchable. and sometimes, that helps to fix it a little more. i can be thankful until the cows come home and my friend goes on feeling unappreciated. or i could do something about it. and guess what? yeah you’re catching on. it’s the heart part again.
8. this one hits me in the gut. because i married that guy who knows i love little special things and brings them home on unspecial days just because he think’s i’m special. the one who started Mama Mondays where dinner isn’t expected from my hands and the baby is taken from them when he walks in the door. and i’m lovingly banished away to my room where i have one night a week for anything that rejuvenates my soul and refreshes my spirit. do you think he’s thinking of me? what would that look like in man world? maybe in smaller ways, throughout my day. his week. how could i make sure he knows. and maybe i didn’t marry that guy who has a masters in making me feel special. maybe the change in our marriage has to start with me. maybe it’s my heart that gets to start.
9. if you’ve never been on the giving end of a r.a.k. i’m not sure what you’re waiting for. there might not be anything greater than randomly, unselectively making someones minute. but most times, i always think of them too late. i see the man on the side of the street and wish i had thought about him before i saw him and prepared for him. so do it. whether its a small gift card in your wallet or a box full of goodies in your car, be ready. because when you happen upon that moment where you have the chance to turn someones day around. you’re gonna want to take it. see how you’re happier already just thinking about it? you can’t buy this, friend. you have to want it bad enough to turn how you think upside down. it’s not. about. you.
10. and it’s not about what you have. in fact, it’s maybe even more about what you don’t have. that closet full of clutter isn’t making you breath easier. you’re not relaxed now that you’re drawers don’t shut unless you lay on them. your kids don’t fight less because they can’t see their toy shelves underneath the toys. let it go, friend. let go of what you think you need because when you open your hands and give it away you’ll see that simple really is beautiful. and that stuff can be stuffy. and that minimalism isn’t the lack of something, it’s simply the perfect amount of something (nicholas burroughs). and that someone might really need what you have too much of. and that seeking them out and giving of yourself and your stuff, will have a big effect on your heart.
praying for your twenty fourteen and mine. and that your lists might start looking a little different so that your year might begin to.